Moscow to South Korea via the United States

I had to leave Russia somewhat unexpectedly, two weeks ago tomorrow. I needed to be in San Francisco to collect money owed, and decided beforehand to spend a few days in rural Maryland with my Mom before heading to Korea via San Francisco. There is not too much going on in Chestertown, Maryland besides farming and hunting. San Francisco is of course San Francisco.

After almost a week in Chestertown and about 10 days in San Francisco, yesterday I departed California for Korea. I arrived in Incheon last night and took the airport railroad to Seoul, then the KTX train south toward Busan, the second-largest Korean city and fifth-largest port in the world.

It was about 12 hours on the plane, an hour or so traveling from Incheon to Seoul, then almost three hours on the train from Seoul to Busan, and finally another 20 or 30 minutes on the Busan metro before arriving at my girlfriend's apartment at 1:30 in the morning. She had no idea I was even in Korea, let alone that I would be showing up unannounced at her apartment. I will spend a few weeks in Korea before probably making my way to China, then maybe Mongolia and/or India.

It was frustrating to have to return home to the United States, even briefly, but I'm happy to have taken care of my unfinished business. Despite not wanting to leave Russia so soon, it was nice to collect money to fund more travel, and regardless I did nearly everything I set out to do while in Russia. My only regrets are not seeing western Siberia or Murmansk, a port city north of Arctic Circle. Eventually I would like to see the summertime white nights in Saint Petersburg.

While in Korea I will see an international bullfighting festival next weekend in Cheongdo, a Cirque du Soleil show in Seoul probably the weekend after that, and until then I will kill time in Busan and probably take some photographs. The professional photo lab here in Busan is really nice, as opposed to the lab I went to in Moscow, which did a terrible job developing my film. It was a big mistake to trust the Russians with something so important. I say that in jest, mostly.

I'm also going to visit Seokbulsa Temple, which I failed to find during my first visit to Korea. The "Stone Buddha Temple" is carved into the rockface of one of the mountains here in Busan. It is apparently beautiful but also quite difficult to find if you don't know exactly where you're going.